Shop Temporarily Closed

The shop will be closed for renovations by our building management June 27- July 4.

Please feel free to contact the shop with any questions.

Posted by Jess

Artist Spotlight: Thomas Leyh

Painting by Thomas Leyh

If you’ve ever been in our shop on a day that Thomas Leyh was present, you’ll almost definitely recall yourself hearing some strange noises and/or comments coming from a goofy dude tattooing in the corner closest to the office. Even more likely, you’ve been tattooed by him yourself-  Thomas is available for walk-ins and creates a wide variety of designs on a daily basis. Everything from a single letter, a taco, skylines, birds, maps, he’s done it all- and probably made you laugh along the way.

When he’s not crafting up specific pieces by request, he’s working on his personal art and carving out his own twist on traditional tattooing. Using the most basic components of classic tattooing- bold, clean lines and bright colors- as the framework for his art, he creates original drawings that catch the eye and are a touch out of the ordinary.


With an affinity for the weird, Thom enjoys adding a bizarre twist to many of his designs, but he also creates pleasing twists on classic motifs. Roses, ladies, animals, butterflies… images seen regularly are made fresh & unique.

Gramophone & Lady Liberty
Lucky cat & Wolf

Not to be limited by one style; He also enjoys doing mandala and mehndi-inspired work. Creating these pieces, he fashions them in a way that they work with the body as an ornate decoration, acting like a piece of permanent jewelry.

To see more of his work, you can check his page on our website here or check him out on instagram @Thomasleyh

Contact the shop for consultations & appointments. If you’re visiting New York from out of town, you can email us at to set something up. If you’re located in NYC, please call the shop and we can set up a time for you to consult with our artists & schedule appointments. Don’t forget to check out our FAQ & look around the site for other questions- but feel free to reach out to us for any other inquires.



Posted by Jess


Ganesh, Oil on Canvas 36″ X 36″- On View in the Shop

The world of tattooing is growing and changing at an exponential rate with every year. Those trained in the skill of tattooing come from all different walks of life, and they can each claim their own unique connection to art and what inspires them in their craft. Generally, a tattoo artist is versed in several different styles of tattoo art from all over the world- from the beginnings to the current day, and they can also draw something unique for any client request that comes through the door. But just outside the realm of tattooing exists a large and varied sea of fine arts & crafts made by the artists who populate the tattoo industry.


Michael Bellamy, 49, founder & owner of Red Rocket Tattoo has been tattooing for 23 years, and has been producing fine art even longer.  Born and spending his formative years in Denver, Colorado, Mike began painting in high school. He found quickly that he didn’t enjoy using the popular medium of acrylic paints for his work and tried his hand at Oil Paints. Oil painting is generally considered a challenging medium but immediately became the sole method for Mike, although he maintains an ongoing learning process with his chosen avenue to this day.

Neda Cathedral, Oil on Canvas 60″ X 60″

Mike attended community & state schools in Denver studying an array of arts & philosophies before moving to New York city at 23, where he began his Fine Arts degree at Parson’s. After graduating with his BFA in 1992, he worked as a freelance illustrator for several big name brands. Mike began tattooing around 1993, opening his own shop in 1998, but continued his personal artwork all the while. He has traveled all over the world and been featured in many art & tattoo magazines, and curated or participated in over 30 gallery shows.

Headdress Girl 24″ X 36″ Oil on Canvas, on View at the Shop

Nowadays, Mike has a studio space at home where he still paints regularly. He says he’s inspired by other inspired artists, he feels motivated by art that is above the status quo- he’s excited by seeing art that blows him away. Tattooing 4 days a week out of Red Rocket here in Midtown, Manhattan, he’s still creating beautiful paintings in his free time. For quite a while, Mike says he tried to avoid allowing tattoo imagery to influence his personal art. Eventually, he chose to embrace it and has produced a series of paintings inspired by popular tattoo imagery, but in his own painterly style.

A colorful life full of travel, adventure, and knowledge have given Mike a remarkable vision with which he creates stunning pieces of art. Several pieces are on view at Red Rocket, and you can visit his website to see more at

Check back for updates on his upcoming shows, or stop by the shop to speak with him about tattoos.


Posted by Jess

New Stuff in the Red Rocket Webstore!

This week we added some new stuff to our webstore! We’ve still got the previously added apparel & accessories, and now we’ve got some cool stuff for sale from our artists. The shop features high-quality prints of paintings from Erica Flannes, Vinny Romanelli, Thomas Leyh, and Adam Hays. Additionally, there’s a 4-piece flourished pen letterpress set made up of a Greeting Card, Post cards, and a Bookmark by Derek Martinez. Any of these things could make great gifts for a friend or loved one, or for your own home…treat yo’self!

You can visit our webstore on Etsy here.

We’ve got even more cool stuff in store and will be updating the webstore periodically. Have something in mind you’d like to see more of? Let us know!

As always- call or email the shop with questions!

Posted by Jess

What to Consider Before Getting a Hand/Finger Tattoo

Requests for tattoos on hands have become increasingly popular lately- almost every day I find myself disappointing a client by telling them that finger tattoos simply don’t hold.

We don’t enjoy telling people why their tattoo ideas won’t work- we’ve chosen to work in this industry because we enjoy putting cool artwork on your skin forever. We never tell anybody “No” just for fun, or just to be jerks. We want you to have something you’ll be happy with forever. If you’re going to trust someone to take sharp needles to your skin and leave permanent marks on you, you need to extend that trust to believe that your artist has your best interest in mind when they tell you what’s best- it is their profession, after all.

That being said, we thought it might be helpful to lay out a comprehensive explanation on this topic in hopes that it will help you better understand, so listen up!

Reasons why we recommend you don’t get that tattoo anywhere on your hands: 

1. Your Future

Let’s start here- I’m not sure why, but this is the bulletpoint people seem to brush off most often when we explain it. It’s true that tattoos have become much more common and tattoo acceptance has seemingly grown proportionately- except it hasn’t. A whopping 42% of all people still think that tattoos are inappropriate in the workplace. This  Skinfo article has a great infographic with statistics on tattoo acceptability in the workplace.

Keep in mind that it can be difficult or impossible to cover a tattoo on your hands.


Now, maybe you’re one of the lucky few who have, or will in the future, have a job in a tattoo-accepting industry…Let’s consider society and world culture as a whole. In the future, your hand tattoos might not be a problem for your jobs, but there are many situations where you’ll be judged for your visible tattoos without you even realizing it’s happening. Applying for housing, meeting new friends & families, traveling in foreign countries, etc… you’ll never know exactly where your future will take you, and who you may meet…and how you may end up regretting those incredibly visible hand tattoos.

You also may be thinking “well, I don’t plan on ever associating with anyone who would judge me on my tattoos.” Unfortunately, that just isn’t possible unless you plan on never making any acquaintances outside of a Hot Topic in Portland, OR. Someone judging you based on your tattoos doesn’t necessarily make them a terrible person, it’s just that many circles and cultures still aren’t as familiar with tattoos as we are, and they aren’t equipped with the same world view as you are- they might not even be judging you negatively, but it can be difficult for many people to remove certain associations from their mind.

Moving on to more tangible evidence:

2. Your Skin & Science

Here’s the cold hard facts on exactly what we mean when we say tattoos on your hands just don’t work the same as tattoos do anywhere else on your body. As you likely already know, all tattoos fade over long periods of time. I’m not going to outline the science behind that, but if you’re interested check this out.

Small details are also not ideal for the skin on hands

The skin on your hands is much thinner than almost anywhere else on your body and therefore takes ink much differently than anywhere else on your body- because of this, a tattoo on your hands will fade much faster than anywhere else on your body. All tattoos fade over long periods of time as your skin changes with age, with sun exposure, etc. Now think of how much you use your hands every day! Your hands are worked harder, exposed to the elements, washed, etc… they are put through much more work than your other appendages. Most of those pictures you see online of finger tattoos are photos taken immediately after the tattoo is finished- many times the tattoos are almost completely gone within a year.

Even the most skillfully done finger tattoos will fade

This issue could be solved with regular touch-ups, but keep in mind that most tattoo shops (including ours) don’t offer free touch-ups for hands, so having your hand tattoos touched-up regularly can be time consuming and expensive. Can you commit to that?

So there you have it- a detailed explanation on why your artist may say “no”, to your hand tattoo. They aren’t trying to ruin your day- they’re trying to make sure you have a quality tattoo that you’ll love-forever.


*all the tattoo images in this post were found by google image search- none of these tattoos were done at Red Rocket, and I was unable to find their original sources. They were likely all quality tattoos to begin with- I use them here as a testament to the unavoidable fading nature of all hand tattoos.




Posted by Jess

Our holiday hours and closings are as follows:
December 24, 25, 26: Closed
December 31: Open 12-4pm
January 1: Closed 
Please contact the shop with any questions!
Thank you & we hope you all have wonderful holidays with your loved ones!

Posted by Jess


Guys, this is exciting. If you have ever considered getting laser tattoo removal, listen up!

At least once a week, we have a disappointing conversation in which we must tell a customer “If you want to get that tattoo covered up, you’re going to have to get it lasered first.” We don’t enjoy telling people this! We know how disappointing it is to find out that something isn’t going to work out exactly the way you imagined. But we’re not in the business of telling people what they want to hear- we’re here to give you a quality tattoo that will look great and last.

It’s not always about cover-ups, though. Even more commonly, it’s simply about having a tattoo you don’t like anymore, or, never liked at all, and you want it gone. Well, here’s the exciting part…getting started on that laser removal can be easy thanks to a little gift from our friends at Tataway….

We’ve got this gift box containing a $300 Gift Certificate for tattoo removal, a cozy hoodie & an aftercare kit up for grabs! Just stop by the shop before the 23rd and enter the raffle for $5. (You’ll also automatically be entered if you buy a gift certificate.)

Despite it’s increasing popularity and accessibility, people still don’t seem to know much about laser removal. We all tend to assume it’s insanely expensive, but the news is good on the price front. It’s really not as expensive as you may expect it to be. Also, if you’re looking to do a cover-up, you usually don’t even need to get the tattoo completely removed. You can just get it lightened dramatically in a few sessions and slap the new, improved tattoo right over it!

For more information on laser removal & Tataway, visit their website at

For questions on the raffle or anything else, email, call or stop by the shop!

Posted by Jess

Red Rocket Merchandise & Gift Certificates for the Holidays

The christmas season is upon us! We hope you all had a great thanksgiving. Now that we’ve made it past black friday, cyber monday, etc. it’s time to finish up our holiday shopping so that we can relax and enjoy seeing our loved ones faces light up when they open their gifts.

We’ve got some good news to make your shopping a little easier…our Webstore is finally up & active!

We’ve got a bunch of apparel, pins & patches available!

You can shop here.

We’ll be adding some more products in the upcoming future, artist prints, more apparel, and even some creative side projects handmade by our resident artists. Keep an eye out and check back periodically for new stuff.

We also have Gift Certificates available of any denomination, however these are for sale in-store only. Come by the shop at your convenience to purchase one. Added perk- you’ll get a free shirt with any Gift Certificate purchase over $150. 

Also store-exclusive are our new brand new Red Rocket Snapback hats, available in two colors- Khaki/Black & Blue/Grey. $20. We’ve also got some artist designed Red Rocket Tees that are only available in the shop.

As always, shoot us an email or give us a call if you have any questions. Thanks!

@redrockettattoo | | 212-736-3001



Posted by Jess

Closed for the Holiday

We’ll be closed tomorrow, November 26th and Friday, November 27th for the holiday. Normal business hours will resume on Saturday.

We hope you all enjoy some time with your loved ones!


Posted by Jess

Adam Hays’ Japanese Pieces

Adam Hays is looking to start some large scale Japanese pieces in the upcoming months.

The ancient cultural significance of Japanese tradition and art is both fascinating, beautiful and worthy of a googling-frenzy, wikidpedia-link-clicking-black-hole research on your part- but for starters we can give you a very short summary.

Arguably among one of the most visually dynamic and aesthetically pleasing styles of tattooing, imagery found in the Japanese style is also inundated with meaning and symbolism. A variety of factors can effect the meaning of the piece- color, positioning, direction, surrounding scenery, and so on.  Some of the commonly found motifs in Japanese imagery include but are not limited to:

  • Ryu (Dragon)
  • Koi Fish
  • Tora (Tiger)
  • Karashishi (Fu Dog/Lion Dog)
  • Oni (Demon)
  • Zugaikotsu (Skull)
  • Hannya (Noh mask)
  • Namakubi (Severed head)
  • Kiku (Crysanthemum)
  • Sakura (Cherry Blossom)

Animals, (both real and mythological) flowers, wind bars & waves are common motifs. Also regularly found are Yokai (monsters) and Yurei (ghosts), and Noh (classical japanese musical drama) masks.

Adam is specifically looking to concentrate on large pieces centered on animals.

You may be familiar with Adam’s unique illustrative style, which he integrates with traditional Japanese style.

You can see more of Adam’s work on his instagram @adamguyhays

Contact the shop for consultations & appointments. If you’re visiting New York from out of town, you can email us at to set something up. If you’re located in NYC, please call the shop and we can set up a time for you to consult with our artists & schedule appointments. Don’t forget to check out our FAQ & look around the site for other questions- but feel free to reach out to us for any other inquires.


Posted by Jess